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Buddhadharma : Winter 2015
winter 2 0 1 5 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 49 in that area who was their sponsor and had prom- ised to provide the food and alms for their retreat. The king, however, failed to keep his word. The Buddha and his followers did not receive their food and instead had to eat food from the horses’ stables. This example shows that the Buddha appeared as a human being who ate food like other human beings. The Buddha manifested as such due to his skillful means in benefiting sentient beings, so that people could gain merit by making food offerings to him. All enlightened emanations and the appearances of pure realms are for the benefit of the beings to be trained. This illustrates some of the enlightened aspects and qualities of the buddha’s body. The inconceivable secrets of the Buddha’s enlightened speech are likewise beyond measure and conception. The Buddha gives teachings to all of the bodhisattvas in his entourage, who listen to the dharma in infinite worlds and universes. For instance, when Buddha Shakyamuni is dwelling in this world, his speech remains free from the slight- est notion of outer or inner. It is free of any desig- nation of distance; it is limitless like space. When the Buddha even so much as clears his throat or coughs, it is for the benefit of sentient beings. When he gives teachings to the gods, nagas, and human beings, each will be able to understand him in their own tongue. even if there are thousands of differ- ent varieties of sentient beings present, each will understand the Buddha in their respective languages without the need to depend on translators. The nirmanakaya buddha Shakyamuni abides in the expanse of wisdom wherever he travels or dwells. Throughout all of his actions, such as when stretching his body or bending and folding his arms, he is never separated from the realization of this ultimate nature, not even for the time span of the blink of an eye. In every single exhalation and inhalation of his breath, he never separates from the nature of dharmata. Merely through the move- ments of his breath, Buddha Shakyamuni has the power to benefit beings in worlds without end. This is the inconceivable secret of the Buddha’s speech. It is beyond the conceptual framework of the human mind, beyond all possible intellectual conventions. As it is for his body and speech, so the Tatha- gata’s mind has the inconceivable secret nature. The primordial Buddha is the one who has never moved nor strayed from the state of dharmakaya, who has always remained in the realization of dharmata. The nature of buddhahood is beyond effort, beyond doing anything, beyond existence itself; it is beyond all of these things. The different dharma teachings are given and manifested for each being’s benefit according to his or her individual fortune and merit. In brief, whether we speak of Samantabhadra or Shakyamuni, they are actually identical in nature, with Shakyamuni being the emanation of Samantabhadra. Although in our sadhanas and pujas we may visualize Buddha Samantabhadra above and Buddha Shakyamuni below, this is just convention and in accord with our ordinary, dual- istic way of thinking. In reality, Samantabhadra and Shakyamuni are not two. The dharmakaya or “absolute body” and the rupakaya or “body of enlightened form” are always a unity. (Opposite) Shakyamuni Buddha by Chris Banigan When the conditions of sun, moisture, and so forth come together, a rainbow naturally appears. In the same way, the nirmanakaya manifestation will remain as long as the appropriate conditions are in place.